As he enters his last season as a professional racer we catch up with CSC’s Lars Michaelsen, and chat to him about all things biking;
RCUK; It’s just been announced that this will be your last year as a pro, what are your memories of that time and plans for the future?
LM: I have decided that the 2007 season will be my last season as a professional bike rider. Time has gone by and since my first year as a pro in 1994, and I have had some nice memories and I am satisfied with my career, which when all is taken in to consideration has lived up to my personal expectations. I hope I can stay involved some way or another in cycling when I stop as a pro. One option could be developing my cycle tours in Tuscany.
RCUK; What is the tour business all about?
LM: My wife Eva and I have since we moved to Tuscany in 2001 been organizing cycle tours. We offer various tours around Lucca to different levels of cyclists. The number of customers has steadily increased since we started. We have from the beginning made the Tours based on how we would we like to spend a week in Tuscany ourselves, and combined with cycling. Have a look at: www.larsmichaelsen.com.
RCUK; How will you be celebrating Christmas?
LM: I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my family in Denmark, and be riding my mountain bike some, and putting in some Kilometers on the road to maintain fitness and
to be able to enjoy all the nice food with a good conscience.
RCUK: What has been happening this winter with CSC?
LM: CSC chose this year to do their winter camp in Cape Town. I was happy to be back in this beautiful country. I have some nice memories of the place; back
in ’92 – ’94 – ’97 and 2000 participating in stage races, winning the “Boland Bank Tour” twice and meeting some lovely people. The theme this year on CSC’s traditional “survival camp” was starving, dealing with strong sun on
daily long walks, avoiding dangerous animals and hunting. On top we this we of course had to work together out there in the bush for 3 days.
RCUK: You had a great start to 2006, winning the Tour of Qatar, how did you prepare for this?
LM: Every winter I train in cold conditions in Denmark. When I started riding for CSC in 2003 they put in a training camp in Tuscany every year, just before leaving to Qatar, so I guess it have turned out to be the perfect
preparation for this race.
RCUK: You are known as a spring classics rider, what are your hopes and plans for your final year pf classics?
LM: The early Flanders Classics in Belgium plus in the north of France have always been my passion. Of course I would like to finish strong in these races now that I am facing my last season, but I tell you it is not easy. I
will definitely miss these races….-for a rider like me it’s such a pleasure just to be there!
RCUK: Has your approach to training and racing changed over the years?
LM: Basically I have the same ideas about training and races that I had 15 years ago: train seriously, but always remember to save the boost for competition.
RCUK: Has getting older effected how you must train?
LM: I have to do the Kilometers on the road; despite the hard weather conditions I face up here in Denmark. To assure I maintain the “suplesse” I normally also go in the fitness centre to do spinning about twice a week
from about mid December onwards. Finally I “treat” myself by doing exciting mountain bike rides in the forests North of Copenhagen, which helps keep my enthusiasm.
RCUK: If you could change the past what would you do?
LM: Not much would have been different. Perhaps I missed out on a year of racing with a top Italian team!
RCUK: How would you sum up life as a pro bike racer?
LM: It’s a hard school with a lot of sacrifices on one hand, and one the other it’s one of the dream jobs, where you can live a life of your passion.
RCUK: What do you think about the DNA sample issue?
LM: I’m not sure the DNA test is the right step to take right now. Of course it could help cycle sport in this difficult situation, maybe to win back the credibility in a fast way, but it might be just like peeing in your pants. To me it’s more important to unite all the different anti-doping agencies in a way that the world’s best experts and doctors are able to make it as good as impossible to cheat, and this must be in all sports.
Coordinated and sharp “out of competition” testing would be a better and more efficient step to take before DNA. And hey, then it would be nice if cycling could show the way to other sports! Cycling has been so much in focus doping wise since 1998, and since then we have been exposed to a lot more tests than other sports. Many speed cameras normally means catching many speeding cars, which converts in to many “cases”. A lot of other sports should perhaps consider lowering their “speed limits”